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Prime Minister plans to push outsourcing on public sector

Date: 08 March 2011   |   Author: Tristan Young

Public sector fleets look set to be legally obliged to consider outsourcing, if Prime Minister David Cameron gets his way with a new political initiative.

Details of the new scheme, which will cover almost all public sector services, will be revealed in the Open Public Services white paper due out in the coming weeks.

However, writing in the Daily Telegraph, Cameron explained: "We will create a new presumption. that public services should be open to a range of providers competing to offer a better service.

"This is not about destabilising the public services that people rely on; it is about ensuring they are as good as they can be. These are practical reforms, driven by a clear rationale that the best way to raise quality and value for money is to allow different providers to offer services in an open and accountable way. Our public services desperately need an injection of openness, creativity and innovation. These reforms will bring that - and that is why I am determined to see them through."

It is thought this could extend to fleet management and procurement.

Commenting on public sector cutbacks, Stuart Walker, brand director of public sector specialist Automotive Leasing, said: "The public sector undoubtedly faces some unenviable budget decisions and fleet is likely to become a target, but there are opportunities to make positive changes too.

"I'm sure outsourcing has a major role to play. The private sector is already leading the way and offers a blueprint for the public sector," continued Walker. "An estimated 60% of private sector fleets with over 250 vehicles are outsourced, yet for similar-sized public sector organisations the figure is closer to 25%. By outsourcing, organisations not only cut costs, but save administrative time, reduce carbon emissions and improve employee health and safety."

One public sector fleet manager BusinessCar spoke to said the biggest headache with the cutbacks was the disappearance of jobs and the subsequent early termination of vehicle contracts, rather than having to make across-board costs savings.

He added: "I can see it ending up where we only provide statutory services. Anything that's 'nice to have' - that the public likes, but isn't essential - will have to go eventually."

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